BROTHER BROADLINK KTM’S MAHONEY DOMINATES
The first round of the South African National Offroad Championship, the Diamond Route 400, was held this past weekend in the Wolmaransstad area in the North West province.
The season was kicked off on Friday with a fast and dusty time trial comprising of 50 km non-technical riding. The time trial saw Brother Broadlink KTM’s Louwrens Mahoney in first place on his KTM 300 machine, followed closely by stable mate Kenny Gilbert on the EPH Stormjaers KTM 500 XC-W. Enduro specialist Altus de Wet finished the time trial only 38 seconds behind Mahoney, thus securing 5th starting position for the next day. Brother Broadlink KTM youngster Tyron Miller finished first in the OR3 (200cc) class, only 16 seconds behind De Wet, however the next day saw the talented rider crashing early in the race.
Competitors were hoping for rain as they were battling with the dust on Friday, but even the rain during the night was not enough to keep the track wet and therefore taking an early lead in the race was important to keep up the pace.
Saturday morning saw Mahoney leaving for the first of four 60 km loops, but Gilbert was right behind him as only a few seconds seperated the two riders. Gilbert managed to pass Mahoney early in the race, but Mahoney knew it was important to catch Gilbert and take over the lead again. He saw a gap on the first loop and took the lead on his KTM 300 XC, constantly improving his gap over the rest of the field. Miller was less blessed with luck and any championship hopes were gone for him when he broke his collar bone after crashing badly into a fence on the second straight of the race.
Brother Broadlink KTM team mate De Wet however made up good time and not just managed to pass his OR2 class rival Marc Torlage, but also moved up to a comfortable third place overall on his KTM 350 XC-F.
Gray Dick, multiple SA Offroad champion, had a good start and managed to make up good time, seeing him in fifth position overall on the first loop, promising for even better results later in the day. However, a big water hole quickly ended Dick’s hopes as he lost more than 30 minutes getting himself and his KTM 450 SX-F out of the hole, losing precious time on the leaders. Dick had to hang cable to make up places and was awarded with 11th place in the OR1 class after all, some precious points towards the championship.
Dick’s team mate Riaan van Niekerk had to retire due to technical reasons after a good start.
The pressure was on and Brother Broadlink KTM’s Mahoney managed to extend his lead to 4 minutes by the time the talented rider crossed the chequered flag in first position. Stable mate Kenny Gilbert finished the Diamond Route 400 in an impressive second place overall after having spent the last couple of years racing in America. Altus de Wet crossed the finish line only two minutes behind Gilbert in third place overall and first in the OR2 class, making it a 1-2-3 for the Austrian manufacturer KTM.
“I am glad to be back racing for KTM, my KTM 300 felt strong and my family and team were giving me all the support I needed to win.”, said Mahoney.
After Miller crashing early in the race, yougster Michael Creevy on the KTM 250 XC-F had his target set high, namely to get good points in the OR3 class towards the championship. A consistent ride saw the talented rider finishing the race in second position in the OR3 class and 12th overall.
The team is now looking forward to the Riverbed National Enduro, taking place at the Wildcoast on 9 March.
Article and pictures: KTM
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